Many Story House early learning services embraced National Sorry Day or the National Day of Healing on Wednesday, May 26th by engaging children in activities to help them learn about Australia’s first people and their culture. Many children are learning the Welcome to Country, the meaning of the flag, aboriginal language and songs and sharing special stories together. Some services are fortunate to have educators and families from indigenous communities who have been sharing their culture firsthand. Sorry Day and National Reconciliation Week (May 27 – June 3) provides an opportunity for everyone to celebrate Australia’s indigenous people, families, and communities and reflect on what we can do to help the ongoing process of reconciliation.
Here is a snapshot of what some of our services have been doing and are continuing to do as part of National Sorry Day and Reconciliation Week:
The Dolphin Room at Story House Lara have been learning all about the Wadawurrung people from the local community. One of our Educators’ family is from this culture which is not only providing the children with a rich learning experience but one that comes from the heart. This week, children continued to learn the “Welcome to Country” and, on the big screen, stories were shared including “I Love Me” by Sally Morgan and Ambelin Kwaymullina which was read by Quinton Narkle, a Geelong footballer. Educators are extending learning activities as part of Reconciliation Week to incorporate some baking and other activities to deepen the children’s knowledge of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture.
Story House Tarneit made a collective pledge to acknowledge and recognise the importance of early childhood education in respecting and working with young children to support their identity. They recognised the importance of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures as part of the cultural heritage of all Australians. To say sorry as a group, children were given the choice to sign the pledge “to accept all cultures and differences and be kind to others always”.
Story House Warrnambool have been learning a lot about indigenous culture over the past few months. They have learned the Aboriginal names of native animals e.g. kangaroo = koorrayn and they have been singing a Gunditjmara lullaby called “Vullah Vunnah Nah”. To reinforce their knowledge and understanding of the flag, the children created paper plate handprints.
Story House Mt Waverly used natural materials to create beautiful works of art which were displayed for everyone to see.
The children at Story House Clyde had lots of open-ended discussions during group time about the special meaning of Sorry Day. They read stories about the aboriginal culture and painted a huge rainbow serpent which was hung in the room. And, they created sorry wreaths using painted handprints.
Story House Black Rock began the day by saying the Acknowledgment of Country with sign language which they had been practicing the week before. This was taught to the group by Hasu and Taka’s Mum. The group looked at pictures of Aboriginal Australians and talked about how they were the first people who lived in Australia and kindly share the land with us. The educator, Jessica reinforced with children that even though everyone has a different appearance and background that we are all Australian and need to show kind words and kind hands to each other. Children used damper and beans (black, yellow, and red) to create Indigenous Australian flags. They talked about the meaning of each colour and what they represented red (land), black (Aboriginal people) and yellow (sun).
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